A Guide to buying an Antique Leather Chair

28 March 2018

Chairs are a dominating feature within a room, and it’s important to be pleased with your selection. There are several considerations that should be thought of before you make your purchase, some of which we have highlighted below.


Make Sure You Like It 

One of the most important considerations when purchasing any antique is to ensure that you like it. The piece is probably going to be in your home for a long time, so your level of appreciation must be paramount. Ask yourself the following questions: Will I still like this in a couple of months? And does it compliment and work with my other furniture and interior design?


Would It Look Out of Place in Your Home?

The last thing you want from your purchase is to not have an appropriate place in your home for it. 19th-century antique chairs will work in a variety of spaces because the fusion of modern and classic designs is increasing in popularity. Even if your home has a contemporary interior, an eye-catching antique leather piece could be just the addition you need to complete a room.


Does it Fulfil a Purpose?

When browsing for your dream chair, it’s important to bear in mind whether it will fulfil a purpose or not. If you intend for the chair to be placed in your living room, it is highly likely you are expecting it to be used and regularly sat on. If this is your intention, be sure to try the chair out because some antique leather chairs lose their comfort over time due to over-worn springs and flattened cushions. Whereas, if you are only purchasing it for decorative purposes, the comfort isn’t as much of a priority.

 

Originality

Usually, if you’re searching for the perfect antique, you are looking for something that is unique and original. Many antiques are custom made; they’re steeped in history and have a character and a story of their own. Unusual styles and additional features can add to a piece. For example, interestingly shaped arms or legs, or even stud detailing, can make a piece even more attractive and appealing. These additional features are guaranteed to add elegance and an interesting focal point to your interior. One of the benefits of antique leather furniture is that it will stand the test of time. They’re not the kind of pieces that regularly go in and out of fashion and will always fit in with changes in décor and
tastes. 


Condition

The definition of antique is an item that is over 100 years old. Anything with this age is likely to have some sort of damage or a little wear and tear. When you find a piece in a condition that is acceptable to you, and you like the style, don’t let it pass you by! Let your instincts and eyes do the work here.
Some damage can add to a piece. For example, if the leather looks slightly distressed in places, it can make the chair look more authentic and compliment the style of a room. 
You are likely to come across pieces that have some tears and repairs. If the restorations have been tastefully and professionally completed, it shouldn’t considerably affect the value or appearance. 

The structure, legs and arms of an antique chair are usually made from wood. Be sure to check the piece for any existing or previous signs of woodworm and ask the seller if it has

been treated recently.

The leather shouldn’t appear or feel too dry, if it is, it’s highly likely the material is susceptible to damage. Even the slightest knock or zip on a pair of trousers may cause it to split in an unattractive way. Look for leather that seems as though it has been well treated with leather cream or other specialised products.


Caring for Your Purchase

Regularly wipe the leather down with a damp cloth. Ensure that the liquid and the cloth haven’t been in contact with any chemicals, for example washing up liquid or furniture cleaner. This can be done once a week to remove any dust or dirt from the leather.

Polish is used to shine the leather, rather than to nourish it. Antique leather needs moisturising frequently. If you take good care of the material, the appearance of it will improve with your efforts and the need to ‘shine’ it will be removed.

A leather cream or conditioner won’t always make the leather shine, but it will increase the life of the material. It protects and prevents the leather from drying out too much, which in turn can cause it to crack. The leather will soak up the cream or conditioner after you have applied and gently rubbed it in. Just like dry skin on your body, the dry leather also needs TLC through moisturising with the appropriate products. How often you treat the leather depends on the leather's general condition, how it looks and feels. It’s difficult to put a time scale or frequency on the treatment as the varying conditions each chair is in can affect this. For example, if you like your house particularly warm, it’s more likely that the leather will dry out much quicker; similarly, if the chair is placed near a window where the natural light reaches it (we don’t recommend this as leather fades in sunlight) the chair will require treatment more frequently. 

Always do a test patch before applying any products to the whole piece. Wait at least 24 hours to see the effect it has had on the leather or wood. If the cream or conditioner improves the appearance and you are happy with the outcome, proceed to use.